Essay on American Women in the Nineteenth Century

Essay on American Women in the Nineteenth Century

Length: 1184 words (3.4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Contrary to popular belief, ideas on femininity in the eighteenth century were not so much restrictive as in the nineteenth, at least not where sex was concerned. Catherine Clinton, a professor of American history, elaborates in her book, The Other Civil War: American Women in the Nineteenth Century, that it was even accepted for women to have a high sex drive. Clinton also reveals that it was not uncommon to see a pregnant bride (147). At the turn of the century, however, those free ideals morphed into strict guidelines. Society began to value a woman by her sexual purity and dependent behavior. During the nineteenth century, the type of woman who was most valued was a ‘trophy’ wife, much like Marian Forrester in A Lost Lady by Willa Cather. By the end of the story, Niel Herbert, the protagonist in the book, notices flaws in Marian that ultimately makes him lose respect for her. Overall, Niel’s admiration for Captain Forrester and his disillusionment with Mrs. Forrester is an excellent portrayal of the double-standards present in the nineteenth century.
For the women in the nineteenth century, the most difficult standard to be held to is perfection. No one is perfect, yet in many cultures, a mistake on a woman’s behalf can get her banished from her home or killed, even if she was an exemplary woman despite the mistake. Conversely, when a man makes a mistake, it is often overlooked if not praised and he still retains his integrity. This double-standard is eloquently portrayed in A Lost Lady by Niel’s ability to promptly forget Marian’s benevolence and condemn her. From the beginning, Mrs. Forrester has an innate kindness which she demonstrates when she takes care Niel after he falls out from the tree (Cather 26-29). She proves he...

... middle of paper ...

...f gender, is far from over, but steps are being taken in the right direction. The key to change is awareness.

Works Cited

Cather, Willa. A Lost Lady. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1923. Print.
Clinton, Catherine. The Other Civil War: American Women in the Nineteenth Century. New York: Hill and Wang, 1984. Print.
Laurenceau, Jean-Philippe, Lisa Feldman Barrett, and Michael J. Rovine. "The Interpersonal Process Model Of Intimacy In Marriage: A Daily-Diary And Multilevel Modeling Approach." Journal Of Family Psychology 19.2 (2005): 314-323. PsycARTICLES. Web. 3 Mar. 2014.
Taylor, Richard. Love Affairs: Marriage & Infidelity. Amherst, NY: Prometheus, 1997. Print.
Women In Affairs [Electronic Resource (Video)] / Content Media Corporation. n.p.: New York, N.Y. : Films Media Group, [2013], c2011., 2011. Maricopa Comm College District Catalog. Web. 3 Mar. 2014.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay about The American Dream in the Nineteenth Century

- In the late nineteenth century, an increasingly flow of immigrants from many parts of the world made their way to America searching for a dream that gave birth to term “American Dream” still alive today. Driven by economic and financial hardships, persecutions, and great social and political turmoil of the nineteenth century, millions of people and families left their homelands and embarked on the difficult journey to the United States of America. Immigrants came to America from their homeland for many different reasons that were shared equally among men and women of the time....   [tags: Through Women's Eyes Since 1865]

Strong Essays
883 words (2.5 pages)

Emancipations Of Slaves And Women In The Early Nineteenth Century Essay examples

- In three decades prior to the outbreak of Civil War, the Northern United States abounded with movements yearning for social transformation. The two most important movements, the ones that struck deeply at the foundations of American society, that ones that were so influential that they indeed provided the historical background to the two immense issues that Americans continue to debate and struggle with, were the crusades for the abolition of slavery and the equality of women. In the early nineteenth century, the people who challenged the idea of slavery and the adversity of women were usually slaves and women themselves....   [tags: American History]

Strong Essays
1206 words (3.4 pages)

Women 's Rights During The Nineteenth Century Essay

- In the nineteenth century, in American society women were viewed as the safeguard of the home. Limited to the domestic sphere, women were considered to be dependent on men, emotional, with limited knowledge tending to deal with petty problems such as marriage and socialising. Their job was to look after the home and bear children. Men on the other hand, were citizen producers, family providers, rational, and were the owners of property. However throughout the 20th century this view was challenge by several significant forces, social, economic and most significantly political, which overtime has led to an immense change in women’s roles in society....   [tags: Women's suffrage, Suffrage]

Strong Essays
1059 words (3 pages)

Women During The Nineteenth Century Essay

- During her lecture, Lisa Vollendorf asked her audience to tell her one word, which they thought described the lives of women living in the seventeenth and eighteenth century. Some of the answers she received were ‘difficult’, ‘limited’, and ‘misogynistic’. Some people’s initial thought of women in the seventeenth and eighteenth century may be negative, but there is proof that there were women that made the most of their lives, no matter what issues came up or what challenges they faced. The women in literature as well as the women in real life were sometimes degraded, humiliated, and treated badly....   [tags: Woman, Feminism, Women's suffrage, Peer review]

Strong Essays
1309 words (3.7 pages)

Women 's Rights Movement During The Nineteenth Century Essay

- The nineteenth century encountered some of most revolutionary movements in the history of our nation, and of the world – the movements to abolish slavery and the movement for women’s rights. Many women participated alongside men in the movement to abolish slavery, and “their experience inspired feminist social reformers to seek equality with men” (Bentley, Ziegler, and Streets-Salter 2015, pg. 654). Their involvement in the abolition movement revealed that women suffered many of the same legal disadvantages as slaves, most noticeably their inability to access the right to vote....   [tags: Women's suffrage, Elizabeth Cady Stanton]

Strong Essays
1244 words (3.6 pages)

Women's Rights in the Nineteenth Century Essay

- In the Nineteenth Century, women were not given the rights that they are able to experience today, one woman in particular was said to, “possess more influence upon the thought of American women than any woman previous to her time” (Norton Anthology 740). Margaret Fuller was an accomplished writer of many essays and also the author of a book that talked about women’s rights before the time of women’s suffrage movements. During a time when women were not supposed to have the education that men were, Fuller was taught by her father many different languages and carried a great understanding of that a student from a university would have....   [tags: history of feminism, gender inequality]

Strong Essays
983 words (2.8 pages)

Essay on Women in the Nineteenth Century

- No matter what time period women are in they do not have as much freedom as men do and they aren’t treated equally. Back in the late nineteenth century women didn’t have as much freedom as they do now days. This is seen through “Neighbour Rosicky” and “The Yellow Wall-Paper”. However in “A Sweat-Shop Romance” and “Daisy Miller” we see some change in what women can and can’t do and how they are seen outside of home. Throughout this essay the social roles, roles in families and economic status’s of women will be described....   [tags: Neighbor Rosicky, The Yellow Wallpaper]

Strong Essays
711 words (2 pages)

Inequality For Women During The Nineteenth Century Essay

- Inequality for Women Women in the nineteenth century lived in a time period where their lives were defined by gender. Men and women were always viewed differently in every aspect of their lives. At the beginning of the century, women were allowed just a few of the legal, social, or political rights that men were allowed to partake in that are now taken for granted. Women were not allowed to vote, sue someone or be sued, they could not vote, could not testify in a court case, they had limited control over personal property after they were married because their husbands took the roles of their fathers who used to have control of their property, and they rarely were granted custody over their...   [tags: Marriage, Family, Husband, Middle class]

Strong Essays
1689 words (4.8 pages)

Nineteenth Century American vs Twentieth Century American Essay

- The Nineteenth Century American was very different than the Twentieth Century American. They had different technology, food, laws, dress, customs, view of art and beauty, and family structure. They lived a lot differently than we do and they acted differently, also. They liked different things, and had different customs, also. They spoke English, but used different words and words had different meanings. The Nineteenth Century American ate many different things, but most of theme were simple. During the Nineteenth Century, the potato chip was invented....   [tags: essays research papers]

Free Essays
1132 words (3.2 pages)

American Women's Changing Roles In Society Essay

- During the first half of the 19th century, women's roles in society evolved in the areas of occupational, moral, and social reform. Through efforts such as factory movements, social reform, and women's rights, their aims were realized and foundations for further reform were established. The occupational standings of women evolved in the first half of the nineteenth century. A new system of recruitment, the Lowell-Waltham system, emerged in Massachusetts. This new factory system brought in young, unmarried women to work together in a new form of mass production (C)....   [tags: History Women Feminism]

Free Essays
911 words (2.6 pages)